Ambiance matinale sur le Danube, Romania
click image to enlarge/original link & more photos ~ photo credit Gérard Koehl
Danube Delta is the youngest land of Europe and it grows up quickly. Youngest but willing to distinguish itself. First, it wants to be interesting by closing a circle. Danube River springs from The Black Forest Mountains (Germany) and ends up into the Black Sea. Before it flows into the sea there is a beautiful old forest named Caraorman. This is a Turkish word and it means Black Forest. Then it loves superlatives like
- the world’s most extensive surface covered by reed;
- the world’s richest ornithological fauna;
- the third wet zone of the Earth (after the deltas of the Amazon and Nile) and the biggest from Europe;
- Romania’s most extensive sand banks;
- Romania’s shortest winter (only 20 days with temperatures below freezing).
Do you love numbers? Here they are:
- it hosts 98% of the European aquatic fauna;
- meaning over 3400 animal species, most of which are unique in the world;
- approximately 300 species of birds, most of which have been declared natural monuments (pelicans, egrets, canaries, storks);
- around 160 fish species are waiting for the sailors (sturgeons, sheat fish, carps, herrings, pikes);
- among the mammals, we can note the fox, the field mouse, the wild cat, the wolf and the bear. The thicket shores host turtles, vipers, water snakes and lizard colonies;
- over 1150 plant species prove that the flora is very rich in these places. There is a multitude of aquatic plants: plants with floating leaves (the white water lily, the yellow water lily, addrovanda – a rare carnivore plant), river plants (the reed, the aquatic mint) and terrestrial plants (the silver willow tree, the wild cherry tree, the ash tree).
The most important landscape elements in the delta are the fluvial grinds; they are mud deposits that the river has made as it flows. The most important grinds are Letea (with the old forest reserve bearing the same name), Caraorman, and Erenciuc. They are all made up of oaks, willows and black poplars. Many lianas and other creeping plants populating the area give the extraordinary look.
A powerful but still a fragile paradise. That’s why Danube Delta has numerous areas that were declared natural reservations and included in the United Nations’ list of natural monuments and it was named a biosphere reserve.
The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve stretches over 5800 square km. and covers the delta, Razelm-Sinoe lagoons and the Danube River until the Cat Curve. The delta itself stretches over 4178 square km, of which 80% lies in Romania and the rest in Ukraine.
The first mention of the Danube Delta was made by the Greek historian Herodotus who described the moment when Persian fleet of Darius entered the Delta (515-513 BC).
Here you’ll find a mix of original landscapes; the paradise of rush bushes, of numerous fish species. Great beauty and a real scientific value. Delta’s new lands changes their shapes daily and modifies their dimensions year after year. Every tourist is amazed because every time they came in a place they see a totally different landscape. That’s why they come back again and again.
The delta lies around the three channels that the Danube has created:
- Chilia is the Northern branch and it is also the most active one, having two groups of ramifications. It is 120 km long and has formed its own micro-delta that lies mainly in Ukraine. It carries 63% of the entire water capacity of the river
- Sulina is the straight arm and also the shortest channel; it provides the most (sometime the best) of the facilities for tourist activities. It’s 64 km long and it’s generally used by commercial ships. It carries 15% of the whole water capacity of the river.
- Sfantu Gheorghe is the oldest one, 116 km long and it carries 22% of the whole water capacity of the river.